Laura Dores revealed how she became the ultimate “no nonsense bride" when she turned her daughters' double christening into a surprise wedding, arranging her top-secret nuptials in just 14 weeks.
Dores, recalls her guests' astonished faces after her Wonder Woman-style change from pants into her wedding dress. Ready to marry Jordan.
“We had the Christening, then I went into a side room in the church to secretly get changed into my wedding dress," she said.
Laura and Jordan (PA Real Life/Collect)
“Then Levi, Jordan's 10-year-old son from a previous relationship, gave a speech we'd written for him revealing the surprise. We could hear people saying, 'Wedding? Who's getting married?' before the penny dropped that it was us," Dores continued.
A thread of surprise has woven its way through their relationship since it began in September 2013 when Jordan walked into the bank where Laura then worked to fix the boiler.
“At work, we called him 'the hot one' whenever he came in. One of my friends and colleagues thought it would be hilarious to slip Jordan my number," she said.
Nola-Mae being baptised prior to Jordan and Laura's wedding reveal (PA Real Life/Dave Hards Hard Light Photography)
“Driving home that night, I got a text saying, 'Hi, it's Jordan.' I wanted to kill my co-worker, but I was also quite pleased he'd text," she said.
A month later, they went on their first official date. A romantic weekend in London.
“It was all very PG and respectful, but it was lovely. We saw all the famous sites together," she said.
Laura's daughter Evelyn-Rose, sister, and Jordan's daughter Elsie giving the signal that she was ready to walk down the aisle (PA Real Life/Dave Hards Hard Light Photography)
Then, in February 2014, Dores discovered she was pregnant.
“I had no idea that could happen. I'd been on the Pill for years with no problems," Dores said. “But while the pregnancy was earlier than we had planned, we were both still completely delighted."
Laura being given away by her mum Lynn (PA Real Life/Collect)
When their daughter Evelyn-Rose, now five, arrived in November 2014, the couple could not have been more in love with her.
And the following year, during a restaurant meal celebrating their anniversary, Jordan proposed and Dores happily accepted.
“The ring he got me didn't fit properly, so we got a replacement one for £5, which I actually ended up wearing for ages," she recalled.
Jordan and Laura with newborn Evelyn-Rose (PA Real Life/Collect)
Keen to have another baby first, wedding plans were not at the forefront of Dores' mind.
But, it took three years for her to conceive again. Finally discovering in late 2018 that she was expecting baby number two.
As her due date neared, she decided she would get both children christened at the same time.
Jordan and Evelyn-Rose leaving hospital with newborn Nola-Mae (PA Real Life/Collect)
“We decided to go for the same church that Jordan had been christened in when he was little, in Ruskington, Lincolnshire," she explained.
“We went for the August bank holiday, and had it booked before I even gave birth."
On 11 May, 2019, Dores had her second daughter, Nola-Mae.
Jordan, Evelyn-Rose and Laura (PA Real Life/Collect)
Then, her mom, Lynn, made the suggestion that they should have the wedding and double christening at the same time.
“My mum can't even remember saying it, as it was just an off-the-cuff comment, but we were sat in her car, talking about the christening," she said.
“She said, 'You and Jordan have been engaged for so long, why don't you just make it your wedding and kill two birds with one stone?'"
Nola-Mae being baptised (PA Real Life/Dave Hards Hard Light Photography)
“I told Jordan, and at first, we laughed it off. But she had planted a seed, and a few days later, we revisited the idea, but decided it would be more fun if we didn't tell any of our guests about the wedding part," Dores continued.
“We wanted to spring it on them on the day as a surprise."
With around 14 weeks to go until the double christening and surprise wedding day, they had no time to waste.
Laura and Jordan getting married (PA Real Life/Dave Hards Hard Light Photography)
“There were a lot of moving parts to making it all work. We had to find an officiant that could do both baptisms and weddings, which wasn't as easy as it sounds. We had to have a big meeting with the church, too, to discuss the practicalities of how it was all going to happen," Dores said.
“We had to tell a couple of our loved ones what was going on along the way. We told Jordan's brother James, who lives in Ohio, USA, to make sure he could come over."
“We also had to give the witnesses' names up front, which involved telling Jordan's friends John and Daniel, who were also going to be godfathers, and my best friend and the girls' godmother Lianne. Apart from that, nobody else knew – not even our parents or siblings."
Laura and Jordan signing their marriage certificate (PA Real Life/Dave Hards Hard Light Photography)
“It was quite helpful having a tiny circle of people in the fold, so they could make sure nobody else caught wind. Besides, Jordan has a big gob so it's inevitable someone was going to find out!" Dores said.
As the countdown to her wedding day commenced, she ordered dresses for the girls as well as baskets of petals so that they could be flower girls.
She also bought suits for Jordan and Levi and some biodegradable confetti to hide at the back of the church, for guests to collect on their way out.
Laura and Jordan (PA Real Life/Dave Hards Hard Light Photography)
“We wanted to make sure all the little wedding details were taken care of, so nobody would be disappointed that they hadn't brought something they would've done if they'd known," she said.
Unlike most brides, Dores' own dress was a real last minute decision.
In the weeks leading up to the big day, she ordered lots of options online. Hiding them all over the house when they arrived, but none looked right.
Levi's speech revealing the surprise (PA Real Life/Collect)
“I'd not long had Nola-Mae, so I wanted to find something that I felt confident in, so I wouldn't be worrying about baby weight," she added.
Finally, 48 hours before the ceremony, she finally settled on an ASOS number.
“Some of my family could tell I was stressed about finalising the last few little details, and kept saying, 'It's fine, it's only a christening,'" she said. “Obviously they had no idea that I was actually trying to plan a wedding."
Laura and Jordan's order of service (PA Real Life/Collect)
“My mom was fretting about what she would wear, which was quite funny. I kept thinking, 'Wait until you hear you're going to be walking me down the aisle,'" she added. “I chose her as I don't have a relationship with my dad."
On the day itself, Dores did her own hair and makeup, before getting into her christening outfit.
She then smuggled her wedding dress into the church and hid it in a back room, ready for a quick change later.
Laura with her daughters, Nola-Mae and Evelyn-Rose (PA Real Life/Collect)
The christening ran smoothly. And, just as guests thought it was time to go, little Levi stepped up and read out his speech.
“Thanks for all coming to witness Evelyn-Rose and Nola-Mae being christened, however, we're not done there," she said.
“Someone gave Laura an idea. They said, 'I don't know why you don't just get married and get it all done on the same day. That person was Lynn, Laura's mum. Well, now you're here to witness Laura and my dad taking that idea and rolling with it."
“They ask that, if you are able to stick around, then please do. I have one more question – Lynn, Laura would like to know if you would do her the honour of giving her away."
Laura and Jordan (PA Real Life/Collect)
Then, a gobsmacked Lynn went to fetch her daughter, who reappeared in her wedding dress.
Dores then officially tied the knot with Jordan four years after he had proposed, before everybody went across the road to a pub for the reception.
Dores says she would not have done things any other way, and that planning her big day in secret took the pressure off and made for an unforgettable day.
Jordan and Laura on their wedding day (PA Real Life/Collect)
But, they never had a proper reception and hope restrictions may have eased enough to throw one in August, to coincide with their first anniversary.
“I'd always thought that if I ever did get married, I'd be a real bridezilla, but it was surprisingly easy. It's not about a big song and dance, it's about you and your partner sharing your love with your nearest and dearest," she said.
“That's what I'd say to anybody having to have scaled back weddings. At the end of the day that's what it's all about – love."
“I wouldn't change the way we did things for the world. I wish I could do it all again."